Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 13:49
Telecom data privacy law to change on EU ruling
The law on access to telecommunications data is being adjusted to agree with a ruling by the European Court of Justice. In the ruling of April 2014, the Court declared the Data Retention Directive invalid. This Directive contains rules for Member States on data retention in connection with the fight against serious crime. According to the Cabinet, the ruling does not mean that the Dutch law suddenly became invalid, as the law was legally implemented according to the proper procedures. Minister Ivo Opstelten sent the Cabinet's position to the Second Chamber today. At the same time he is asking different agencies to advice on a legislative proposal that will achieve the desired changes. The aim is to bring Dutch legislation in line with the ruling of the Court. The Cabinet has opted for a different, stricter access to the retained data in order to improve the privacy of citizens. The full retention period of 12 months may soon only be consulted in the event of a serious offense that incurs a sentence of eight years or more. For lesser offenses the data may be retained only for 6 months. The rules of access to internet date remain the same as it already has a shorter retention period of 6 months. The prosecutor will soon also be able to get access to telecommunications only after receiving permission from a judge. Providers of telecommunications services will also be required to store and process their data within the European Union. In addition, the Cabinet is exploring options to encrypt communication data stored for the detection of serious crimes. In the letter to the Second Chamber the Cabinet emphasizes the importance of the retention for the fight against serious crime. Without telecommunications data the tackling of, for example, jihadists, child pornography, robbery and murder will be much more difficult or even impossible. The European judges also stated that retention of telecommunications data is a valuable tool in criminal investigations.